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The lockdown has forced workers to set up their offices at home to carry on being productive but many are struggling to fend off phishing attacks and remain secure.

Data breaches have soared in the wake of the enforced home working boom, reports data deletion specialist DSA Connect.  From January to March 2020, the number of phishing websites has grown by 350%, says DSA. As more people work from home, they lose familiar connections and are more likely to be diverted into plausible-looking bogus sites.

“In the privacy of their own homes, employees are more likely to visit dubious websites, and working from home also makes it harder to be sure of the identity of people contacting you who don’t work for the same organisation as you,” said Harry Benham, chairman of DSA Connect.

“Face-to-face business meetings have been replaced so employees are at greater risk of fraudsters spear phishing and whaling frauds, which are now directed specifically at senior executives,” said Benham.

In the wake of Coronavirus, fraudsters have stepped up their targeting of companies and employees and this dramatically increases the chances of data breaches, said Benham.

Reports registered with the National Economic Crime Centre in March rose by 277% in the six weeks up to 18 March. Last month, coronavirus accounted for about one in 20 frauds registered with the centre.

Carlene Jackson, CEO of Brighton-based Cloud9 Insight, said the legal profession, in particular, is having problems. “It allowed concerns around security to trump all other considerations,” she said. “A sector that still relies on ink signatures and other anachronisms is struggling in lockdown.

“It is a sector that has been slow to innovate and is now paying the price. Some are viewing this crisis as a brilliant opportunity.”

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